BENGALURU: The Indian men's hockey team has progressed immensely in the last few years and would settle for nothing less than a podium finish at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak said on Tuesday.
Pathak strongly believes the Tokyo Games are India's best opportunity to break their four decade-long medal drought at the Olympics.
India have won eight gold medals in the past but their last top finish came way back in 1980 Moscow Olympics.
"We have played really well against the top teams in the last few years.
We have shown our mettle in the FIH Hockey Pro League as well.
All the players are very confident about their games and are very determined to make history for India.
We have progressed well as a team and the time has come for us to apply our skills to the best of our abilities and execute our plans properly.
We are aiming for nothing short of a medal and we believe we can win a medal at the Olympics this year," Pathak said in a Hockey India release.
The 24-year-old Pathak, who has secured his place as India's second custodian behind the experienced PR Sreejesh, said coordination between a goalkeeper and defenders is key to a strong and solid backline.
"There might be only one goalkeeper on the pitch, but he is definitely not alone. I keep speaking to the defenders about their plans and ensure that I am in sync with them.
If I can coordinate well with the defenders, then we will definitely have a strong defence line and make sure that we don't concede any easy goal," he said.
Talking about India's preparation for the Games to be held from July 23 till August 8, Pathak said they are leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit for a podium finish.
"The Olympics is not very far away and so we are all putting in everything we have in every practice session.
The coaches have devised high-intensity practice sessions for us.
We have been playing well as a group for a few years and we want to make sure that we play to our full potential at the quadrennial Games.
It's going to be a big challenge for us, but we are definitely up for it," added the goalkeeper, who has played 50 matches for the country so far.